Monday, April 27, 2009

Intention Vs. Reality (Shows this Week)

So, this morning while I was coffee deprived and generally crabby, I had an interesting conversation with a young stock trader at the Starbucks on Wall Street. The conversation had to do with one's intent versus one's reality in relation to the outside world. This is something I've thought about quite a bit over the years, starting as early as age 12 or so. Let's take the time machine back, shall we? I was a ruddy youngster and salty as hell. I fancied myself quite a "speed demon" on the skateboard and in relation to the other 3 skateboarders in Clatskanie, Oregon, I was pretty damn good. I entered a regional competition, regional meaning Clatskanie and it's suburbs (yes, we had suburbs) and Longview (the big city, at least 10,000 people and two paper mills). So, my intent was to win the competition, show some young ladies how strong, graceful and gazelle-like I was and become a national hero, travelling the globe with a small entourage of like minded youth in search of the mystical Animal Chin. Now, again, that was my intent. Luckily, someone videotaped the competition, and I realized that the reality, my reality in relation to the rest of the world (in this case NW Oregon and SW Washington) was that I was a slightly tubby Swedish kid flopping around on a plank of wood with rubber wheels, spending more time off of it than on, that there was nothing gazelle-like about me, and perhaps manatee would be a more apt anthropomorphization (it's my intention that this is a real word). Okay, so good lesson, thank you technology, I started practicing trumpet more.

Okay, back to the present, there are times, beautiful still moments when intention and reality meet, like this morning, when my intention was to get a delicious cup of coffee (okay, it was starbuck's, but I'm still drinking it, so just let me believe for another couple of ounces), and I had completed the real world process of standing in line to pay for said coffee. This is what I was trying to explain to our dear friend the stock trader in very reserved tones. See, he also had the intention of getting a delicious coffee, but instead of dealing with the reality of his surroundings, he thought it would magically appear if he stood in front of the bagels fridge and yelled into his iphone, silly stock trader. I guess he never had someone videotape him at a skateboard competition. poor guy.

And some other moments of intent meeting reality this week!

Tonight: Bar 4
Pete Robbins Quartet:
Pete Robbins alto saxophone
Jeff Davis drums
Daniel Levin cello
Nate Wooley trumpet
7-10 pm
444 7th Avenue
Free! (tips graciously accepted)

The Stone
Magical Listening Hour Record Release Party
Louie Belogenis tenor and soprano saxophones
Michael Attias alto saxophone
Steve Swell trombone
Nate Wooley trumpet
Sets at 8 and 10 pm
2nd street and Avenue C

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And the Heavens Opened.....

Every day I walk from Vesey and Church to Wall Street for work. I thread my not so slenderness between the teeming hordes of macabre Nebraska high school girls basketball squads trying to snap a picture of the World Trade Center pit, the sweaty Wall Street traders looking on the edge of jumping out a window, Ben Bernanke and his phalanx of NYPD that, for some reason, are always dressed like a Tom of Finland recruitment poster and the botoxed PR guys rushing to their offices to work on convincing the idiot masses that Miley Cyrus is more than what she should be (a cute Tennessee diner waitress with dreams of hitting it big). Okay, so not really any different than the average NY commute, and I've learned to take a certain Taoist approach, becoming the stream that rushes quietly around the intervening craggy rocks, but one thing drives me completely insane....makes me grit my teeth, immediately upon hearing it, and that is car horns. I'm all for sound, addicted to it actually, but the pointless honking in New York is maybe my second biggest pet peeve (after umbrellas), and lately I have been having this little day dream, that I would like to share in hopes that if it is said out loud it will somehow come true. Thank you for your patience. If you would like to skip down to the gigs, please feel free at any point, I don't mind.

My day dream starts pretty grounded in reality, walking down Church to work, but then some jackass (re: livery driver) lays on the horn because he is shocked that there is a red light and this seriously inhibits his ability to do his job which is to drive a car in New York City, which has red lights in it. I walk over to his car, gently open then hood, and proceed to rip out the horn with my bare hands. Now this is where things start to get a little testosterone, so if there are kids around, please make them jump to the gigs now. As I'm standing in the viscera of the handily dispatched car horn, a red film covers my eyes and I move to the next car and repeat the process, and the next, and the next, and the next, until I am a whirring mass of silent destruction, stripping electrical cables with my teeth, flinging small plastic air horns hundreds of feet into the air as I move quickly up town in a crisscross pattern, leaving no horn unturned. Finally, it is dusk and I am laying in a pile of shredded cheap plastic, gasoline, and well, it's new york, so probably urine of some sort. My fingers are nubs and I am breathing in short but thankfully quiet gasps. The people of New York lift me gently on their shoulders and carry me to midtown. They sing William Basinski's tape loops using the syllable "lu" as a Norse chariot comes flying out of the sky pulled by a million unicorns. Leif Erickson, Zeus, Don Knotts and Alyssa Milano (of course) gently lift my depleted carcass into the chariot and kiss my brow as we fly heavenward to an eternity of rest, relaxation, indian food and matlock reruns. The people cheer and all is right with the world.

Shanda thinks that this wouldn't actually happen if I dismantled every car horn in New York. She runs on a different set of religious principles than I do. However, since I usually blindly believe anything a proven pragmatist tells me, I will learn to live with it and maybe even become friends with the cacophony. Maybe I'll start this week with these two gigs:

Brooklyn Lyceum
227 4th Avenue
8 pm

Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra
Taylor Ho Bynum/Nate Wooley-cornet/trumpet
Reut Regev/Tim Vaughn-trombone
Avram Fefer/David Bindman/Matt Bauder-saxophoneAdam Lane-bass
Igal Foni-drums


IBeam Studios
168 7th street
8 pm

Tilt Sixtet
Rich Johnson/Nate Wooley-trumpet
Chris McIntyre/Ben Gerstein-trombone
Joe Exley/Jay Rozen-tuba

Also, Crackleknob is out!!!!!!! The new disc with Mary Halvorson and Reuben Radding on Hatology. Please go to your local sounderie and buy 9 copies. Seriously, you will break the first 8 with glee upon listening.

and finally, some folks have asked me to post these announcements on my blog ( so that the whole world can know what a doofus I am. So, there you go. This will be up today. Tell your friends, especially if you've been having an argument about what a doofus I am.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Behold the Coming of Crackleknob!

I can only assume that somewhere, somehow, someone laid waste to a chicken while chanting at the moon with a cajun accent because Crackleknob is finally out! That's right boys and girls, I have a copy on my desk right now. HatHut did a beautiful job, as did Reuben Radding in the mixing and mastering of the disc. For those of you not in the know, Crackleknob is the most delightfully underheard trio in modern times. Comprised of Mary Halvorson on guitar, Reuben Radding on bass and Nate Wooley on trumpet, the trio has been hard at work playing for millions and generally staying humble about it. Well, no more. The disc is out, it is great, and I'm guessing you will want it. Drop me a line here for info on getting a copy, or find it yourself at all the fine record stores that specialize in improvised music (i.e. downtown music gallery)

Magic Listening Hour on Cadence

Just released!

Steve Swell on trombone

Michael Attias on alto sax

Louie Belogenis on tenor sax

Nate Wooley on trumpet

recorded live at South Street Seaport in 2007. You may have seen this disc floating around as a DIY project, but it was just released by Cadence with a new cover featuring another painting by Steve!

All About Jazz

Finally back in some sort of work stasis after travel, recording and the typical Easter trumpet madness. A little behind, but here is a great review for "Hammer" by Lyn Horton from

Seemingly the most complicated music is really the most simple; complexity might stem only from the mindful choices the performers make when they play. Yet, when the vocabulary of each performer is so well attuned to the possibilities of an unusual instrumental setting, then the choices for improvising, even though they might sound oddly pressured, are instinctual. What the musicians give each other musically and how each responds, generates the music.
This concept holds true on Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing, featuring the trio of Nate Wooley on trumpet, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics and Jason Roebke on bass. How they relate to each other is through pure sound-making— where the sounds are discrete, but tend towards surprising fluidity ("Southern Ends of the Earth"), or what might seem to be total cacophony ("Tacones Altos") is totally sensible. It would be difficult to suggest that the music could be any other way than it is. The journey takes only one road and it is fascinating to follow it.
Five tracks, each lasting over ten minutes, give unquestionable substance to this recording. The textures are constantly changing. They metaphorically evoke auditory images that are mechanical ("Sans Aluminumius"), digital ("Saint Mary"), or are downright spacey and environmentally natural ("Anywhere, Anyplace at All"). Even though Lonberg-Holm steers the electronics, it is often the acoustic instruments that are tonally blending so well that how they merge seems electronic ("Sans Aluminumus"). Sometimes the question could be asked: where is the percussion? And the answer might be anywhere, anyplace or at none all.
The activity of singing, implied in the title, occurs where the song is the subtle, nuanced conversation among instruments ("Southern Ends of the Earth"). When the trumpet and the cello merge in timbre ("Sans Aluminumius"), the resulting surge ushers in a sinking sensation not without a deep bass tone, as if to eradicate all that annoys, leaving a state that allows for aberration to pass through aurally, as unavoidable but not untenable gestures from the outside world.
When the trumpet, cello and electronics interact ("Southern Ends of the Earth"), there is no contest; Wooley's tone often matches that of the cello so that its timbral quality disappears. The sound of the trumpet intercedes sometimes as accent ("Tacones Altos," "Saint Mary") or to embellish the fullness of the overall sound ("Sans Aluminumius" and "Southern Ends of The Earth"). The entire recording attests to Lonberg-Holm's genius as he advances his adventures with the bow as it scrapes, tweaks, scratches, twists, grinds, saws or broaches melody on the cello strings. Roebke's curious pizzicatos and well-placed arco consistently supports predominate textures whether they be electronic or from the cello ("Anywhere, Anyplace At All," "Southern Ends of The Earth").
This music induces a magical meditation—so abstract, so non-melodic, and so persistent in its vagaries that its appreciation is subject to transcendence, the skirting of analysis and just going with the flow.